Greetings from Charlotte,
Mr. Meredith addressed a meeting of the Headquarters staff on Wednesday about the importance of understanding the arguments used by critics of the Church today. I spoke about the importance of gaining an education so God can use us as instruments in His hands. The semi-annual letter is currently being mailed to more than 280,000 recipients (note the correction from last week). Mr. Apartian has been in the office and is doing much better. I was able to visit with Mr. and Mrs. Bill Whitaker last Sabbath in Walterboro. He, too, is doing much better after a fall. Mr. Ron McGowen is in recovery after heart surgery on Wednesday and would appreciate your continued prayers. We will appreciate your prayers for the Council of Elders meetings that will take place November 13-15, and for the safe travel of those who will be attending the meetings. We plan to bring Mr. Charles Ogwyn and his family to Charlotte to direct the Church website and Internet operations. While the Ogwyns have been greatly appreciated in Arkansas, Mr. Ogwyn has considerable training and experience in the field of Web design and Internet marketing, which will be very useful in his new area of responsibility. Mr. Rick Stafford will be replacing the Ogwyns in Arkansas. Mr. Stafford is a long-time elder and most recently traveled to Tanzania to serve new brethren there during the 2006 Feast of Tabernacles.
Prayer Request: Mrs. Mary Hegvold
Mary Hegvold (who served as a faculty member at Ambassador College for many years), requests your prayers for God’s intervention on her behalf. She has been hospitalized for several days in Roswell, GA. She is very weak and is not responding well to treatment. Her sodium level is out of balance and she is losing weight. The doctors suspect pancreatic cancer, but Mrs. Hegvold has resisted invasive testing to verify the cause of her illness. Please pray for this long-time servant of God and His people. Cards of encouragement may be sent to: Mrs. Mary Hegvold, c/o North Fulton Regional Hospital, 3000 Hospital Blvd, Roswell, GA 37006, USA.
Mr. Dan Hall reports: We have enjoyed two successful Living Leadership Course classes. Both times, we encouraged everyone to come. The response has been enthusiastic with most of the brethren attending! We used a “give and take” lecture format—allowing everyone a chance to participate, answer questions, and comment as we progressed through the outline. Many have stated that they find the course very profitable—especially in light of all the new people who express the desire to attend Church via direct “GOTO” requests or Public Bible Lectures. Last Sabbath in Pensacola, FL, a Sabbath-keeping group meeting in an adjacent room was delighted to see others of like mind keeping the Sabbath as well. Their pastor poked his head in during services out of curiosity and amazement that others were keeping the Sabbath as they were. He later called me and spoke with me for about an hour—asking numerous questions with a genuine desire to learn. The point is that the local brethren saw the need to be able to give appropriate answers in a situation like this. And they see that the Living Leadership Course will provide them with the tools they need to be effective servant leaders. However, there is an additional benefit which is becoming more and more noticeable. The brethren are getting to know and appreciate each other better. This program offers a wonderful opportunity for sharing, bonding, and becoming more and more like a tightly knit family and team doing the Work of God.
Mr. Paul Shumway reports: We just returned from a very productive trip to Jamaica. My wife and I arrived in Jamaica on Thursday night [October 26] and toured our new office with Mr. Lacelles Fraser on Friday. We had 88 in attendance for services with the sermon covering the introductory lesson of the Living Leadership Course: “Why a Leadership Course?” After an hour and a half lunch break, 69 people stayed for Leadership class number two: “Becoming a True Servant.” This was an interactive session with good participation and was very well received. On Sunday, we had a workshop for the songleaders and potential sermonette men. Afterwards, we were able to visit with more of the members in the Kingston area.
Mr. Bruce Tyler reports: We are very busy preparing to mail Mr. Meredith’s semi-annual letter to all Tomorrow’s World subscribers. There are about 16,000 letters being mailed here in Australia. However, when we add New Zealand and other regional lists, the total will be in excess of 20,000 for this region. Last Sunday, November 5, I left home early to travel to Charlotte for the Council of Elders meetings with Mr. Meredith. I spent the rest of Sunday, Monday and Tuesday with Mr. Penman in Auckland and took care of some Church matters while there. I will arrive at Headquarters on Friday afternoon. Mr. Michael Gill reports that he and his wife traveled to Victoria last week and visited a number of GOTOs. The trip included visits to Melbourne, Shepparton and Kyneton before returning to Melbourne for the Sabbath. All of the visits were very positive and we will have more new people attending services in Melbourne in the near future.
I just received the following update from Arius Nusantara in Indonesia: “As many of our subscribers have finished their [Bible Study Course] lesson 8 and taken the test, many of them begin to understand that they must do something with the Truth they have been learning. There are subscribers who at the moment request for a visit. Two of them live in Java Island, one in Jogjakarta, and one in Jakarta. The other lives in Bali Island. They who live in Jakarta and Bali have come to the point that they want to be in the true Church and ask some guidance how they can find the true Church… [One individual in Bali] made some interesting comments, he told me that he enjoyed reading from our Indonesian website and always opened it after work. He has downloaded all TW telecasts on the website. The translation works have been progressing all the way through, as well as the activity of our subscribers. Many of them send me e-mails and ask questions regarding God’s Truth and the true Church. At the moment we have 224 people on our list.”
Feast of Tabernacles 2006 Attendance
Hosting 45 sites in 30 countries around the world, the Living Church of God had an overall Festival attendance this year of 7,120. This is an increase from the previous year’s attendance of 7,057 (both figures include shut-ins, mostly in the USA, who were unable to attend the Feast and received FOT CDs). Notable increases in attendance this year were observed in international areas such as Canada, Latin America, United Kingdom, Philippines, Africa, and French-speaking areas, which together grew at a rate of 18% over last year.—Festival Office
December Family and Singles Event in Charlotte
Families and singles who are planning to attend only the activities that will take place on the weekend of December 23-24, in Charlotte, are requested to log in to the “MyLCG” section of the Member Resources website (www.cogl.org) to register for the event, view lodging information, and learn about the schedule of activities. The “MyLCG” section of the Member Resources website will be updated as event details are finalized. Those without Internet access should contact the Headquarters office at 704-844-1970. Please register as soon as possible so that we may acquire the appropriate facilities for the dance and other activities. All other singles who will be participating on the Living 4 Tomorrow (December 20-21) and/or Singles Seminar (December 22) should follow the registration instructions announced in last week’s Update.
Mr. Wayne Pyle reports: Our preliminary response on Thursday did not even come close to predicting this week’s exceptional response! This week’s program is breaking all previous response-records for The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy booklet. For whatever reason, the Thursday response was low compared to the following days. We aired new program #281, “Keys to Understanding Prophecy,” offering The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy (USP). From Thursday through Sunday, we received 2,988 phone calls, and we are expecting the final count to be about 3,700.
Program #261, “Lessons of History,” held the previous record for USP requests. It broke the all-time record for USP requests back in January this year with 3,442 responses. We aired it a month later, and it generated 3,147 additional replies. Then, this summer we aired the program a third time and it produced 2,662 responses, which was a good summertime response.
The USP booklet is our second most advertised booklet—second to the Fourteen Signs booklet, but because of so many offers over the last seven years, on television and in our publications, it has not drawn the high responses like our other newer booklets. However, this week’s telecast is most certainly striking a responsive chord with Tomorrow’s World viewers, and certainly improving USP request-counts.
In the last three weeks, since we started airing brand new programs for the new 2006-2007 season, the responses have been well above 3,000 for each program. And we are averaging about 2,000 brand new, first-time callers each week, which clearly shows our Tomorrow’s World TV audience is growing.
The Value of Education. Over the years, some have concluded that worldly education is of little value to true Christians. Since Satan is the god of this world and we are to come out of this world (II Corinthians 4:4; 6:14-18), some have assumed that getting an education in this world is ungodly and a waste of time. Yet these ideas overlook the fact that God has used, in very powerful ways, individuals who were schooled in this world. Moses—who wrote the first five books of the Bible and was used to lead the Israelites out of Egypt—was reared as a prince and “was learned in all the knowledge of the Egyptians” (Acts 7:22). Solomon was knowledgeable in many areas (I Kings 4:32-34), and he collected wise sayings in the book of Proverbs. Daniel was one of a group of intelligent young Jewish captives who were educated in Babylon (Daniel 1:3-4). God used Paul, who was taught by Gamaliel and spoke several languages (Acts 22:3; 21:37-40) and was advanced in Judaism beyond his peers (Galatians 1:14), as the apostle to the Gentiles and to write 14 books in the New Testament. In the USA, studies reveal that education pays dividends—on average, high school dropouts earn less than $20,000 per year, while high school graduates earn almost $30,000 per year, and college graduates earn more than $50,000 per year. More education helps Christians provide better for their families. Christians who understand the truth of God and the plan of God should take advantage of opportunities to gain an education that will prepare them to serve others more effectively now and prepare to be leaders in the kingdom of God.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
NEWS AND PROPHECY—November 9, 2006
World Sea Food Stocks Could Collapse in 50 Years. According to a study just released in the prestigious journal Science, world fish and sea food stocks could completely collapse by the year 2048. Researchers from several universities around the globe discovered: “Whether we looked at tide pools or studies over the entire world's ocean, we saw the same picture emerging. In losing species we lose the productivity and stability of entire ecosystems. I was shocked and disturbed by how consistent these trends are—beyond anything we suspected,” stated a researcher from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada (BBC, November 2, 2006, Reuters, November 2, 2006). In Genesis 1:28 and 2:15, God gave man dominion over the fish and animals and told him to dress and keep the land—but man has not done this. Man chose NOT to obey God or keep His statutes and one prophesied result is that “even the fish of the sea will be taken away” (Hosea 4:1-3). As we see science predicting the collapse of fishing by the middle of this century, we should not be “knocking science” for having an environmental agenda. Rather, we should see science as merely observing the results of man’s neglect of his God-given responsibilities and its recognition of a prophesied event that God said would occur in the “latter days” (Hosea 3:5).
The Debt Bomb. The “get-rich-quick” mentality of the planet’s high-rolling financial giants is a ticking bomb that could blow up the world’s precariously balanced financial markets at any time. Stock exchanges are reaching all-time highs under a complex set of risky bets and debts incurred by multi-national banks. This very risky bank-based trading recently totaled $285 trillion. That is six times the world’s entire output in 2005, and 25 times the U.S. federal debt of $11.13 trillion. It is like a table full of lined-up dominos just waiting for someone to jiggle it. Big banks often abuse the system, transforming the marketplace into a giant gambling casino that operates outside of government regulations. Too few people are playing with too much money, most of which doesn’t belong to them. The U.S. Comptroller of Currency reports that less than 9% of these risky trades are placed through regulated exchanges—a shocking 91% are “over the counter” deals, outside the scrutiny of exchange authorities (Martin Weiss’ Safe Money Report, November 2006). God’s word tells us that those who are in a hurry to get rich will end the race in poverty and death (Proverbs 21:5-6). We are also told that the nations of Israel will end as debtor nations at the time of the end (Deuteronomy 28:44). Importantly, several of the world banks with the greatest percentages of financial risk are based in these same Israelite-descended nations.
West Nile Virus Spreading Across United States. So far, this year, 2,171 cases of the potentially deadly West Nile virus have been reported in the U.S., affecting more than 41 U.S. states. Seventy-four cases were fatal, representing a 20% increase over 2005, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official Dr. Lyle Petersen. West Nile arrived in New York in 1999, and by 2001 there had been 149 reported cases resulting in 18 deaths. In 2002-2003, 6,159 cases were recorded, with 548 fatalities. Most West Nile infections originate when mosquitoes (which flourish in hot, wet weather) bite an infected bird and then bite a human being. The virus is potentially lethal, as it can cause inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. Milder infections produce influenza-like symptoms, meaning that many cases of West Nile may go undiagnosed (Washington Times, September 22, 2006). God warns that He will inflict the plagues of Egypt on His people, if they do not obey Him (Deuteronomy 28:60). Our job as God’s Church is to “Cry aloud, spare not; lift up your voice like a trumpet; and tell my people their transgressions…” (Isaiah 58:1) and encourage them to repent. They need to know their mistakes so that they can have an opportunity to repent.—Don Davis, Scott Winnail, Brian Scarborough
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